Record investment as xénos Business Angels celebrate 10th anniversary
xénos, the Wales Business Angel Network, has facilitated
£2.1million of investments into Welsh SME’s over the past year - a
record level in its 10 year history.
The figures released by xénos reveal a growing trend in Wales-based
owner-managers seeking growth capital from private equity investors
and highlights the increased confidence of investors in the
unquoted equity market.
xénos Network Manager, Leanna Davies, said the latest figures
also demonstrated the high quality of investment opportunities in
the whole of Wales and the confidence business angels had in Welsh
SME’s and the economy. “This is a record year for us – our tenth
anniversary - with 15 investments completed by the business angels
ranging from £20,000 to £500,000 and leveraging a further £924,636
of private sector funds into early stage, second round and
acquisition deals, which is a new area for xénos. Over the past
three years investment levels have increased year on year – first
breaking the £1million barrier in 2004. More and more investors are
realising that becoming a business angel can be an attractive
alternative investment with the additional benefit of becoming
involved in an exciting growing business. The tax breaks available
under the Enterprise Investment Scheme have also contributed to the
xénos has a network of business angels throughout Wales who are
high net worth individuals. Through the network of almost 120
potential investors, owner-managers can seek growth capital by
circulating their projects after signing up to xénos, as well as
through regular regional and Wales-wide networking events,
investment fora and training seminars. Completed deals have
involved a variety of sectors including IT, medical devices,
environmental and manufacturing, as well as companies at various
stages in their growth.
Fairwater Fuels of St Mellons, Cardiff, developed a
revolutionary fuel contamination filtering system and needed
investment to take the product forward. In a deal brokered by
xénos, a syndicate of investors has ensured the company can take it
to market. The company has developed FuelActive™ to combat the
costly issue of diesel contamination in plant and machinery. It
filters fuel from the top of tanks rather than from the bottom
where sediment sits.
Another xénos brokered deal will result in a Mid Wales solar
energy company expanding into new markets as the interest in
alternative energy develops. Bright Light Solar of Tywyn, Gwynedd,
needed capital investment so that it could expand into a new
business unit in the town in order to develop new solar products.
Local xénos business angel, Peter Saunders, jumped at the
opportunity to invest in the company as he realised the huge growth
potential in the alternative energy sector.
In North Wales, Trace Technologies has developed a software
system that could save the aerospace industry millions of pounds.
In a syndicated deal brokered by xénos, the St Asaph-based company
has secured £600,000 from private investor Geoff Andrews, Finance
Wales, HSBC and the Welsh Assembly Government.
With hundreds of miles of fibre-optic cabling often used in just
one large aircraft, it can take more than a year for engineers to
complete installation. Trace Technologies Ltd’s new software –
Photonic Interconnect System Designer (PISD) – allows this to be
cut to just a few months through the use of groundbreaking software
Throughout the UK in the second half of 2006, the number of
business angels making investments rose by 30 per cent, with 250
angels making investments. Of the 4,620 registered angel investors
who are part of 19 recognised leading business angel networks
within the UK, 5.4 per cent made investments during the same
period, with the average investment amounting to £68,315.
Leanna added: “The Wales business angel network is performing
well compared with the rest of the UK, with our average investment
increasing to £100,000 over the past 12 months. Activity remains
high and we are confident of the number of deals we’re likely to
broker over the next 12 months."
xénos and Finance Wales are jointly supporting the annual
British Business Angel Association Conference which takes place in
Cardiff on the 4th July.
The event will attract business angel networks from the UK and
internationally, investors, venture capitalists and professionals
to the Welsh capital where key speakers including David Smith,
Economics Editor of The Sunday Times and Peter Linthwaite, Chief
Executive of the British Venture Capital Association will be
discussing the impact of globalisation on the early stage